The Wire - Season 3 (2004)

The Wire - Season 3
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Violence, coarse language, sex scenes and drug use

Actors: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Frankie Faison, John Doman, Michael K. Williams, Sonja Sohn, Wood Harris, Andre Royo, Idris Elba, Deirdre Lovejoy

The heat is on in Baltimore. The drug war is being lost, bodies are piling up, and a desperate mayor wants the tide turned before the election. But the police department hasn't got any answers. With the demolition of the Franklin Terrace towers, Stringer Bell and the Barksdale crew have been forced to improvise. But no matter how hard McNulty and the detail try, the dealers always seem to be one step ahead of the game.

DVD Boxset
Status: Normal
Run time: 758mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
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Run Time: 758mins
File Size (Approx): 6.8 GB
Television Revision
by Andrew Williams,

Now, this is a story all about how… The Baltimore Police force is still after the Barksdale drug-dealing organisation, even as their personal lives seem to be falling apart. Meanwhile, Major ‘Bunny’ Colvin (Robert Wisdom) tries a new approach to the drug war, and local politician Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) has his eye on a higher office. Happy days? As far as the creative team knew, The Wire’s third season would be their last. While the fourth would eventually go to air nearly two years later, there’s an air of forward momentum and finality about this batch of episodes that elevates it above even the two stellar seasons that preceded it. You get the feeling that if David Simon wasn’t going to be able to tell the full story he wanted to tell, he was at least going to say everything he w...

Now, this is a story all about how… The Baltimore Police force is still after the Barksdale drug-dealing organisation, even as their personal lives seem to be falling apart. Meanwhile, Major ‘Bunny’ Colvin (Robert Wisdom) tries a new approach to the drug war, and local politician Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) has his eye on a higher office.

Happy days? As far as the creative team knew, The Wire’s third season would be their last. While the fourth would eventually go to air nearly two years later, there’s an air of forward momentum and finality about this batch of episodes that elevates it above even the two stellar seasons that preceded it. You get the feeling that if David Simon wasn’t going to be able to tell the full story he wanted to tell, he was at least going to say everything he wanted to say.

That included a further evisceration of the way institutions smother and suffocate new ways of thinking with an Iraq war allegory thrown in for good measure. (For a show often praised for subtlety, The Wire is often just the opposite; the last episode here is called Mission Accomplished.) I especially admire how Simon demonstrates criminal organisations to be as much a victim of institutionalised thinking as the police force or the government; they may be on opposite sides but they have the same shortcomings. These themes are still as relevant as they were back in the mid-2000s, and they’re especially strong in the ‘Hamsterdam’ storyline, in which Wisdom gives a commanding performance as aspiring drug reformer ‘Bunny’ Colvin (one of the show’s all-time greats).

The final frontier: If this had been the last season, it would have been a more than appropriate finale: full of heartbreak, surprising deaths, great dialogue, and a touch of hope. Fortunately for all of us, there’s still two to go. But, it would be hard to top this. A masterpiece.

Top three episodes: 8) Moral Midgetry. An epic, long-simmering confrontation between head honcho Avon Barksdale and second-in-command Stringer Bell explodes verbally and physically in a brutal, brilliant final scene. 9) Slapstick. One of The Wire’s supporting characters has his redemption ripped away from him through a devastating combination of misfortune and human error. 11) Middle Ground. A crucial journey ends the only way it can: fatally.

Worst episode: The 'third episode' curse is broken - courtesy of Stringer’s ‘forty-degree day’ speech - so the dubious honour is here bestowed on Episode Seven (Back Burners), which spends most of its time setting up the belter of an episode that follows.

Season MVP: The uninitiated might know Idris Elba only from his supporting roles in comic book movies, but he’s never topped his cold, calculating, charismatic performance as Stringer Bell. He might be The Wire’s most emblematic character - a man trying to think differently about the world of drugs and crime - and Elba plays him brilliantly.

5/5

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Season cover
1. Time After Time (58m) info
2. All Due Respect (58m) info
3. Dead Soldiers (58m) info
4. Amsterdam (58m) info
5. Straight and True (58m) info
6. Homecoming (57m) info
7. Back Burners (55m) info
8. Moral Midgetry (58m) info
9. Slapstick (58m) info
10. Reformation (58m) info
11. Middle Ground (58m) info
12. Mission Accomplished (63m) info

Member Reviews (3)

Makes you really think about legalisation of drugs.
Posted Friday, 25 October 2013 See my other reviews
Kat
says
This season is really great. Almost Shakespearian. It goes into great detail about the lives of the police and the drug lords.
Posted Saturday, 9 February 2013 See my other reviews
Omar
says
Best TV series ever. Plot, characters, writing - superb.
Posted Tuesday, 28 June 2011 See my other reviews